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[GUIDE] Seeing the Forest for the Trees: The Ranger Guide

You may want to reconsider some of your ratings for Monster Slayer, since you made a major mistake on Slayer's Prey. It lasts until you take a rest, and can be used unlimited times but only affects 1 enemy at a time.

I read it over again, and you're right. That bumps Slayer's Prey to black. I still rate the subclass purple as a whole, though, due to a weak bonus spell list and the highly situational Lv. 11 feature that comes at the same level that all other Rangers are getting major boosts to their offense.
 

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Yunru

First Post
The Beast Master is saved! With my two variant features:
Ranger's Companion: At 3rd level, you magically empower a beast, turning it into a beast companion that accompanies you on your adventures and fights alongside you. Choose a beast that has a challenge rating of 1/2 or lower (the hawk, mastiff, and panther as examples). Your beast companion takes on that form. As you level up, the maximum CR increases, to a CR of 1 after your 4th character level, a CR of 2 after your 8th level, a CR of 3 after your 12th level, and a CR of 4 after your 16th level. You can resurrect or change the form of your companion with a one hour ritual. You companion always has the highest maximum hit points possible.

Your companion obeys your commands as best as it can. It takes its turn on your initiative, though it doesn’t take an action unless you command it to. On your turn, you can verbally command it where to move (no action required by you). You can use your action to verbally command it to take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, Dodge, Help or Multiattack action. Once you have the Extra Attack feature, you can make one attack yourself and command your beast companion to take an Attack or Multiattack action.

Bestial Fury: Starting at 11th level, when you command your beast companion to take the Attack or Multiattack action, it can take the Attack or Multiattack action twice instead.
 
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Gavin O.

First Post
I think that if you actually plan to dual wield, the Dual wielder feat is mandatory, if only for the fact that it allows you to draw both your weapons one the same turn without needing to use your action. Without it, unless you're always walking around with your sword drawn, you won't be able to make two attacks on the first turn.
 

I think that if you actually plan to dual wield, the Dual wielder feat is mandatory, if only for the fact that it allows you to draw both your weapons one the same turn without needing to use your action. Without it, unless you're always walking around with your sword drawn, you won't be able to make two attacks on the first turn.

I haven't been in or seen too many situations where drawing two weapons at once would've made that much of a difference, honestly. Not enough to justify spending a feat just for it. In wilderness or in a dungeon, we tend to have our weapons already drawn to begin with. And Rangers, specifically, also tend to use their first-round bonus action on Hunter's Mark, then draw their second weapon in Round 2.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I think that if you actually plan to dual wield, the Dual wielder feat is mandatory, if only for the fact that it allows you to draw both your weapons one the same turn without needing to use your action. Without it, unless you're always walking around with your sword drawn, you won't be able to make two attacks on the first turn.

I don't see the feat as mandatory. First, if you are in melee there's a chance that your first round will be closing, not attacking. Second, if you are in known dangerous circumstances you might have one or both weapons drawn anyway. But third of all, if you are fighting with two weapons it's often to maximize Hunter's Mark, and that's going to take a bonus action to cast, so you wouldn't have a bonus action to attack with the second weapon that round anyhow.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I don't see the feat as mandatory. First, if you are in melee there's a chance that your first round will be closing, not attacking. Second, if you are in known dangerous circumstances you might have one or both weapons drawn anyway. But third of all, if you are fighting with two weapons it's often to maximize Hunter's Mark, and that's going to take a bonus action to cast, so you wouldn't have a bonus action to attack with the second weapon that round anyhow.

Yep. If you plan to dual wield with Hunter's Mark then forgoing the turn 1 bonus action attack isn't that detrimental since you used it for Hunter's Mark anyways.

However, One of my favorite ranger builds is one that doesn't use hunter's mark. Instead you use a hunter ranger and colossus slayer and use the bonus action attack for better chances to get your colossus slayer damage in. In this case getting the bonus action attack in on turn 1 becomes important.

That said, there's still a lot of times when you can have one weapon already drawn before the encounter.
 

strateg

First Post
or you’re a Gloom Stalker, then it's useless.
I disagree. Depending on your party composition it could be must have pick, because not every time everyone in your party have darkvision. And if so, they will ruin Umbral Sight invisibility part.
Also you are underestimating wizard multiclass. Frankly the strongest ranger i ever saw was sharpshooter Hunter Ranger 5/War Cleric 1/ War Wizard 7+ and he had good offense with haste, good utility and superior defenses.
 
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I disagree. Depending on your party composition it could be must have pick, because not every time everyone in your party have darkvision. And if so, they will ruin Umbral Sight invisibility part.
Your allies have nothing to do with Umbral Sight.

And honestly now I'm not sure I shouldn't just remove the conditional blues from Darkvision outright. Goggles of Night are merely uncommon and require no attunement ...

In any case, with Healing Spirit, Spike Growth, Silence and Pass Without Trace all at the same level, I don't see how you justify taking the Darkvision spell.

Also you are underestimating wizard multiclass. Frankly the strongest ranger i ever saw was sharpshooter Hunter Ranger 5/War Cleric 1/ War Wizard 7+ and he had good offense with haste, good utility and superior defenses.

I'm not seeing how that build is that much stronger than a straight Horizon Walker Ranger 13. Especially not by enough to justify the extra MAD from the INT 13 needed to multiclass Wizard.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I don't think sharpshooter on a ranger by itself is a must take unless you also take crossbow expertise, or multiclass into something that increases accuracy or number of attacks.

I also am not convinced on crossbow expertise without sharpshooter as hunters mark competes with the bonus action attack quite a bit and potentially lowers your dex bonus for a good portion of the game.
 

I don't think sharpshooter on a ranger by itself is a must take unless you also take crossbow expertise, or multiclass into something that increases accuracy or number of attacks.
You don't need to multiclass for those, though. Lv. 8 is when your typical multiclass build matures, but straight Rangers get those kind of tools just one level later. Horizon Walkers get Haste at Lv. 9. Gloom Stalkers have had their first-round extra attack since Lv. 3. All Rangers get Conjure Animals at Lv. 9, and any one of those summoned pets can take the Help action for advantage.

At most, this makes the case for delaying Sharpshooter until Lv. 8, but I typically find, especially in a melee-heavy party, that ignoring cover alone is greatly beneficial earlier than that, even without the -5/+10 trade. And many parties will be able to create advantage for you fairly routinely before Lv. 8, anyway.

I also am not convinced on crossbow expertise without sharpshooter as hunters mark competes with the bonus action attack quite a bit and potentially lowers your dex bonus for a good portion of the game.
It becomes like a ranged version of dual-wielding in that case, best used against the toughest enemies and especially bosses. Hunter's Mark in round 1, then your entire attack routine in round 2+.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
You don't need to multiclass for those, though. Lv. 8 is when your typical multiclass build matures, but straight Rangers get those kind of tools just one level later. Horizon Walkers get Haste at Lv. 9. Gloom Stalkers have had their first-round extra attack since Lv. 3. All Rangers get Conjure Animals at Lv. 9, and any one of those summoned pets can take the Help action for advantage.

1. Haste is overrated except as a prebuff. It takes a level 3 spell slot and doesn't even do more damage than the unhasted ranger until round 3.
2. Gloom Stalkers extra attack is very nice, though it's nice even if all you are doing is casting hunters mark and attacking normally. In fact unless you go for both SS and CE then it's probably better to just boost dex and use a longbow with it, at least for most of the game.
3. Conjure animals is harder to quantify. It's a good spell for sure.

At most, this makes the case for delaying Sharpshooter until Lv. 8, but I typically find, especially in a melee-heavy party, that ignoring cover alone is greatly beneficial earlier than that, even without the -5/+10 trade. And many parties will be able to create advantage for you fairly routinely before Lv. 8, anyway.

The cover aspect of SS helps a lot. Personally I prefer the extreme long range part of it to most everything. That said, for typical fights at typical distances, is SS actually worth taking over +2 dex without having CE? I don't think it's clearly better than the dex at that point. Eventually it's probably worth it though.

It becomes like a ranged version of dual-wielding in that case, best used against the toughest enemies and especially bosses. Hunter's Mark in round 1, then your entire attack routine in round 2+.

Yea, It's alright on bosses. In nearly every other situation you would have been better off with +2 dex bonus and a longbow.
 

strateg

First Post
At first i want to apologize for possible grammar errors, because English is not my native language

Your allies have nothing to do with Umbral Sight.

And honestly now I'm not sure I shouldn't just remove the conditional blues from Darkvision outright. Goggles of Night are merely uncommon and require no attunement ...

In any case, with Healing Spirit, Spike Growth, Silence and Pass Without Trace all at the same level, I don't see how you justify taking the Darkvision spell.
Unfortunatley they have. If someone in your party don't get darkvision you'll be forced to use some light sources which will screw up your invisibility and that happened with me a few times. Though i agree that it's will be a lot better for you if someone else will take it because your known spells is REALLY limited

I'm not seeing how that build is that much stronger than a straight Horizon Walker Ranger 13. Especially not by enough to justify the extra MAD from the INT 13 needed to multiclass Wizard.
Believe me, i saw that. Let me explain my point of viev
Especially not by enough to justify the extra MAD from the INT 13 needed to multiclass Wizard.
That's not really a problem. You can use something like variant human with observant
str 8
dx 16
con 12
int 14
wis 14
cha 12
There are many ways to customize this stats array like taking SS on lvl 1 and dump cha, but it's doesn't really matter in our discussion.

I'll explain a few choices that may look questionable at first glance
12 con - 1) You don't really need much con as a ranged character. 2) Wizard will give you a lot more it terms of survivability. But i'll talk about this later.
14 int - Allow us to take wizard with decent amount of memorised spells, and you don't really care about DC. Also it will boost some useful skills like Nature, Investigation or even.. Arcana. Why not?
14 wis - You don't really need 16 wis. It's expensive as hell and don't really give you much. Though in this build it will hurt war priest feature a little bit, but i think in this case it's a good trade overall.

I'm not seeing how that build is that much stronger than a straight Horizon Walker Ranger 13.
IMO war cleric/hunter ranger/war wizard is superior in every category. Both have quite similar offense capabilities though i think that Horde Breaker + War Priest is actually a lot better than Planar Warrior even with lvl11 boost in terms of damage. Ofcourse mobility boost is good, but wizard have its own ways to mitigate that like Longstrider for example.

Defensive capabilities is much better in wizard build because of spells like Shield, False Life, Absorb Elementals(Ranger have this one, but known spells says hello), Mirror Image, Counterspell and many others. Also War wizard have some amazing features like Arcane Deflection, which give you very good saves, and Durable Magic later on.
It's very hard to land CC on characters like that while horizon walker have many chances to catch some nasty spells like Banishment, Synaptic Static, Plane Shift...

Utility is also in flavour of wizard, without any chances. The only interesting thing is a two more terrains from Naturer Explorer, which can be very good in right campaign.

Wizard MC will also have much more spell slots, and i'm not even talking about higher levels, where he'll get cool stuff like Simulacrum, Tenser Transformation and much more
 
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strateg

First Post
I don't think sharpshooter on a ranger by itself is a must take unless you also take crossbow expertise, or multiclass into something that increases accuracy or number of attacks.

If you want to play ranged Ranger you must take SS. Otherwise you just can't protect your niche. SS will give you much more in terms of DPR.
And here is the thing about CBE Rangers: Hunters Marks already heavily uses your bonus action and it's hard use them both. When i played CBE+SS Gloom Stalker i ended up with removal of hunters mark because usually i didn't had a chance to combine them efficiently.
After that i think, that CBE Rangers are a bit overrated
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
If you want to play ranged Ranger you must take SS. Otherwise you just can't protect your niche. SS will give you much more in terms of DPR.
And here is the thing about CBE Rangers: Hunters Marks already heavily uses your bonus action and it's hard use them both. When i played CBE+SS Gloom Stalker i ended up with removal of hunters mark because usually i didn't had a chance to combine them efficiently.
After that i think, that CBE Rangers are a bit overrated

Have you actually computed DPR for rangers at various stages of their career with just SS and hunters mark and a longbow and then looked at one without SS? I know I have and unless you are taking SS as a variant-human feat so it doesn't impact your dexterity gain then the ranger without SS stays very competitive with the SS ranger unless you are shooting into cover or they are further away that normal longbow range or the target has extremely low AC.

I'm just saying, the difference isn't enough to make SS be mandatory for a ranger until well later or until you start having sufficient accuracy boosts to make it worthwhile.

The CE + SS version will simply not use hunters mark except possibly against a boss and if you have both feats then you are actually doing a lot better damage than any other combination possible.
 

strateg

First Post
Have you actually computed DPR for rangers at various stages of their career with just SS and hunters mark and a longbow and then looked at one without SS? I know I have and unless you are taking SS as a variant-human feat so it doesn't impact your dexterity gain then the ranger without SS stays very competitive with the SS ranger unless you are shooting into cover or they are further away that normal longbow range or the target has extremely low AC.

I'm just saying, the difference isn't enough to make SS be mandatory for a ranger until well later or until you start having sufficient accuracy boosts to make it worthwhile.

The CE + SS version will simply not use hunters mark except possibly against a boss and if you have both feats then you are actually doing a lot better damage than any other combination possible.

Yeah, i calculated that. SS deal ~12.5% more damage than +2 dx on 5th lvl with two attacks against 16 AC. 18.9 vs 16.8 w/o crits
Also despite the fact that CBE+SS deals more damage than SS longbow with Hunters Mark the margin is not that high and Longbow allows more feats for you, and feats is limited resource
 
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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Yeah, i calculated that. SS deal ~12.5% more damage than +2 dx on 5th lvl with two attacks against 16 AC. 18.9 vs 16.8
Also despite the fact that CBE+SS deals more damage than SS longbow with Hunters Mark the margin is not high and Longbow allows more feats for you, and feats is limited resource

That's only if you let them have the same dex. Presumably SS was taken instead of +2 dex at level 4. So the guy not using SS has more dex.

*This is only not true when variant human is the racial choice

I've listed the actual DPR spread below *excluding crits*

AC
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20

DPR SS
27.3
25.2
23.1
21
18.9
16.8
14.7
12.6
10.5
8.4

DPR no SS
22.8
21.6
20.4
19.2
18
16.8
15.6
14.4
13.2
12

At 16 AC they both do the same. VS. below 16 AC SS is better. VS. above 16 AC no SS is better. The absolute damage differences are basically the same. The percent differences favor the non-SS variant.

I think that's enough to prove SS isn't anywhere near a mandatory feat at least in the early levels.
 

strateg

First Post
Nevermind, i screwed this up, they are equal in that case. Though SS scale much better with all accuracy increases.
 
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